LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A shortage of paramedics and EMTs across Kentucky has agencies aggressively competing for workers.

Hardin County increased salaries for some part-time workers 20 percent last month in an effort to retain more employees.

EMS Operations Supervisor Jamie Armstrong says six months ago, turnover was a concern before the change.

"It's been very challenging throughout the state, not only in our region but other regions in Kentucky," Armstrong said.

He says ambulance services have a limited number of candidates in an already tight labor market.

The cost of retirement benefits is also a major concern along with finding enough people in the area with proper training.

"We're working on where we can possibly hold a paramedic program here locally, which would be a huge benefit for us," Armstrong said.

Many aspiring paramedics and EMTs in the area have to drive to Frankfort or Owensboro for classes, and even more are needed as existing employees reach retirement age.

Armstrong says starting paramedics now make between $42,000 and $45,000 a year with EMTs starting about $10,000 less.

Hardin County EMS recently filled its last few openings in the past couple weeks and will be fully staffed in October.

Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.